Name and year in school?
Meredith Song, second year.
Prior Lake, MN
What is your major? What led you to choose this major?
Double major: Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development; Gender Women, and Sexuality Studies. I knew I was interested in science coming into college, but I also wanted to incorporate an aspect of the humanities into my studies. After taking a few GWSS classes, I fell in love with the professors and the department as a whole, and I decided to declare a second major.
Outside of academics, what other organizations or activities do you participate in on campus?
I'm involved in a few student groups on campus, including the Chinese American Student Association, Swipe Out Hunger and the Bioethics Undergraduate Group. I also volunteer with the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life and work in an Immunology research lab.
You currently have an exhibit, "Path-breakers, Path-builders", on display in the Appleby Hall Art Gallery. Can you talk a bit about your inspiration for the project and your path to having it displayed?
The project began as a collaboration with Professor Brian Gibbens in the Biology Teaching and Learning Department, with aid from an HHMI faculty fellows grant. I initially reached out to the Empowering Women in Science group housed within the Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology graduate program here at the U, and conducted interviews with the three featured scientists. Based on the interviews, I created representative mixed-media art pieces over the course of the Spring semester and summer, and was able to display them in the Appleby Hall Art Gallery with the continued support of the Women's Center. The overarching theme for this series was inspired by the concept of “Scientist Superheroes,” since all three scientists showcased are working on research focused towards specific human diseases. All of the featured scientists spoke to the fact that they are motivated to continue with research because it holds the potential to vastly improve the lives of people experiencing these illnesses. I also wanted to feature these powerful women and underrepresented minorities (URMs) in the sciences as superheroes because they are role models to younger students, and by highlighting them, show that the face of science is changing, but still has a long way to come. These three women are part of a growing fraction of women and URMs in science at the University of Minnesota, in the U.S., and around the world. I hope their stories will inspire a coming generation and spark movements that not only address the importance of diversity and inclusion, but also the power in re-creating and re-imagining the research field and science communities as a whole.
What do you hope to do after finishing your undergraduate degree?
I'm currently undecided on what path I hope to take after undergrad. I would like to eventually end up in a social-justice oriented healthcare career, but I'm still figuring out how to get there.
What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
The tunnels under Wiley and Mondale because they’re spooky and also West Bank is underrated.